Celebs Bannished From Rose Bowl Sidelines

Posted in Gridiron at 6:23 pm by

From the Austin American Statesman :

Celebrities will not be roaming the sidelines at the Rose Bowl. The Bowl Championship Series announced that each team will be given five wild card-passes that can only be given to former players.

Among the big names who were turned down for passes by Texas, according to the Los Angeles Times, were cycling champion Lance Armstrong, all-star pitcher Roger Clemens and actors Matthew McConaughey, Dennis Quaid and Rex Linn.

USC Coach Carroll protested the crackdown on celebrities, saying their presence adds to the atmosphere of the game. This season, the Trojans were visited by several celebs, including rappers Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, and singer Nick Lachey.

With all due respect to Snoop and Dre, what possible harm could come from a sideline appearance by the greatest Trojan of them all, whom according to the guidelines above, is very eligible for a pass?

NBA Prepares To Flog More Garish Crap

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 6:15 pm by

From the Indianapolis Star’s Ellen Miller.

Even the president of the Indiana Pacers was skeptical when he heard about the upcoming line of National Basketball Association furniture.

Pacers-themed home goods already available include a hoop-style end table, lamps, clocks, wall decor, throws, bar stools, beanbag chairs, pillows, sheet sets and wastebaskets.

But when general manager Donnie Walsh received a sample pair of leather pillows embossed with the Pacers logo, he was sold on the idea that the NBA-licensed line is tasteful enough to score with fans of both ESPN and HGTV.

“When I first heard about it, I thought to myself, ‘I don’t want a chair that looks like a basketball goal.’ This doesn’t look like that,” says Walsh. “The pillows are really beautiful. I’m going to put them in my house.”

The NBA at Home collection is expected to be available online soon and in stores by the playoffs in April. All the pieces in the collection can be ordered with logos of any of the NBA’s 30 teams, or with the NBA logo itself.

Sal LaRocca, who oversees global merchandising for the NBA, sees the collection as the sports world’s first full-court press into the family room.

“Historically, when sports leagues — and certainly the NBA — thought about home furnishings, it was done so in the context of a kid’s room, with bedding and other things,” says LaRocca.

“What makes this different is that more and more families seem to be creating dens where the family gathers to watch television and really spend time together. This is our first entrée into that room of the house.”

Though the league and team logos are obvious brands to be exploited, it seems to this observer than in their haste to bring such products to market, the NBA’s marketing geniuses are ignoring the name recognition afforded by some of the game’s biggest stars. Surely an actual Mel Turpin dinner bell would have some appeal.

Paging Chad Johnson, Copywrite Infringement In Progress

Posted in Gridiron at 5:20 pm by

Redskins RB Clinton Portis, a few minutes ago performing CPR on the football after scoring on a 2 yard plunge, bringing Washington to a 17-17 tie with Philadelphia (pending John Hall’s PAT).

ESPN’s Public Ball Dropping

Posted in Rock Und Roll, Sports TV, The World Of Entertainment at 4:41 pm by

Blogs aplenty are filled this morning with cutting commentary about how sickly Dick Clark looked last night on ABC’s “Let’s Find A New Job For Ryan Seacrest” New Year’s Eve countdown show. Of course, compared to Little Steven and David Johansen, Clark came off like a vibrant human being.

That ESPN’s broadcast was an unfocused mess (even the most cynical viewer had to feel bad for Van Zandt when Stuart Scott introducted “the hot Christian band” P.O.D.) and seemed like a hastily assembled, poorly conceived project from the moment it was announced. That said, I sincerely doubt it was any more or less a cultural atrocity than Anderson Cooper’s fun-fest on CNN or countless other dunderhead programs shown at the same time from the same locale. And think of the amazing precedent that has been set now that Little Steven has brought a fleeting glimpse of the Underground Garage to the heights of basic cable. Who amongst us isn’t dying to see a Super Bowl halftime show booked by Count Joe Viglione? The Olympic Games’ closing ceremonies as selected by Doug Moody? The entertainment for MLB’s Home Run Derby, curated by John Zewizz? The possibilities are endless, and for that, we owe Stuart Scott and Little Steven Van Zandt a tremedous debt of gratitude.

Ollie Plays The Ding Dang Doo Card

Posted in Football at 3:54 pm by

It was only a few weeks ago I made a comment or two about how much better off Liverpool would be (ignoring that tiny trophy they won in Istanbul) if they had never allowed Michael Owen to depart for Spain, compared to their struggles at the time with soccer’s answer to Shawn Bradley, Peter Crouch.

As it turns out, Crouch has since put Liverpool on his very thin back, scoring yet again in yesterday’s 1-0 dispatch of WBA, while Owen suffered a broken right foot in Newcastle’s 2-0 defeat at Spurs.

Owen’s availability for the World Cup is in doubt, though a strike partnership of Wayne Rooney and whoever else is standing (even Peter Crouch) should be enough to get England into the final 16.

More disturbingly, however, the Guardian’s headline writers are (finally) refering to Crouch as Rodney Trotter.

QPR’s Richard Langley (above) scored the winner in Rangers’ crazy 4-3 victory at Crewe yesterday, a game the R’s somehow survived despite the comical defending efforts of George Santos.

Sporting Life quotes Hoops manager Ian Holloway as being fed up with speculation that his job is in jeopardy.

“We already have more points than we did at this exact point this time last year with a game in hand,” Holloway said. “But that doesn’t seem to be good enough for some people.

“I’m sick and tired of every Tom, Dick and Harry getting linked with my job every day. Well ding, dang, doo. It’s my job, I own it and it’s up to anyone else to take it off me.”

Indeed, QPR are only 4 points away from the final Championship playoff spot, though perhaps 13th place on the 1st of January isn’t commensurate with job security.

So. Cal Carroll Assesses Normal New Yorkers

Posted in Gridiron at 3:27 pm by

USC’s Pete Carroll, with his Jets and Patriots tenures firmly in mind, as quoted by the New York Times’ Pete Thamel.

Carroll again proclaimed his love for Southern California by signing a contract extension this week. If he ever leaves, he will probably not return to the East Coast, he said. After practice Wednesday, Carroll discussed the difference in attitudes on the East and West Coasts.

He said pessimism in the East prevented people from understanding that fun and discipline could coexist on a football field. He said he had proved that at U.S.C. by running disciplined teams that won big games and handled pressure well.

“Because your perspective doesn’t understand how you can do that and smile and have a good time,” Carroll said about those in the East. “You don’t get it because people walk around New York kicking each other and looking over their shoulder. They don’t get it. They think you have to be miserable to accomplish stuff.

“My mentality is something good is about to happen. What does a normal New Yorker think? We don’t see eye to eye. I’m never going back. They won’t have me, and I’m not going out there.”

Carroll went 6-10 in his only year as head coach of the Jets, 1994, and he later succeeded Bill Parcells in New England, coaching the Patriots from 1997 to 1999.

Carroll now says that it was foolish to follow Parcells. He said he had also struggled to understand the fans in Boston, until he saw the movie “Babe,” starring John Goodman. When he saw fans at Fenway Park heckling an aging Babe Ruth, Carroll had a moment of clarity.

“I thought, ‘It ain’t me,’ ” Carroll said. “They did it to the Babe. They do it to everyone. I thought: ‘Ohhhhhh, this is O.K. They just want to win.’ “

Vescey On Kobe’s Fatal Flying Forearm

Posted in Basketball at 12:17 pm by

The New York Post’s Peter Vescey on Kobe The Untouchable.

One thing’s for damn sure; nobody can say they’re remotely shocked that Kobe Bryant says he was shocked by his two-game suspension for treating Mike Miller’s gullet to some elbow macaroni.

The NBA, the Lakers, their fans, the L.A. media and national suppositories, his wife and apparently the Colorado judicial system has allowed him get away with uncivilized behavior for so long we all figured Bryant was immune to punishment.

Of course, Kobe was “very surprised,” in fact, “very, very surprised” when informed the league was lifting almost 290G from his pay envelope and had no intention of dropping the charges.

Here is Jerry Buss’ Chosen One being worshipped nightly at Staples Center, placed on Pinnacle Peak as Jerry Colangelo’s most coveted recruit to represent the USA in the World Games and Olympics, carrying on a full-court love affair with Coach K. and, in his view, bam, out of nowhere, David Stern suddenly turns on him for simply committing premeditated brutality on a defenseless opponent.

The audacity of VP of Violence Stu Jackson to upgrade the viciousness of his flagrant foul! How dare the commissioner tack on a (insufficient, it says here) penalty! How discourteous not to follow the lead of the three blind mice working last week’s Lakers-Grizzlies game and close his eyes to the Lakers’ latest crime against humanity!

Of course Kobe was shocked; like everyone else he was operating under the distinct impression he had papal permission to headhunt trespasses in the paint, challenges for position in the occupied area, or anyone judged to having hit him intentionally.

Anyone who knows anything about the game realizes that wasn’t the case when Miller drove the lane and got fouled by Kobe, who caught a flapping arm above his eye. As he left the court to get a required three stitches, Kobe loudly and vulgarly alerted Miller, one of his staunchest supporters during Bryant’s sexcapade, he’d be back (shades of Latrell Sprewell and P.J. Carlesimo) for retribution.

Afterward, Kobe was quoted as saying he hit Miller on purpose. That’s automatic grounds for suspension. Retaliation makes it that much worse in the league’s view. The fact it was the fourth elbow he planted into an opponent’s chest or above it in less than two weeks only reinforced the need to launch Kobe into suspended contamination for far longer than a measly two games. Apparently he learned more dirty tricks and grubby behavior than we thought from hanging around Karl Malone.

Afterthought, Part I: Miller’s teammates should’ve been suspended by Memphis management for not coming to the aid of their partner. I’m not saying they should’ve immediately slapped the spit out of Kobe, or blindsided him later on, but someone needed to put his hands on him, the way Richard Jefferson grabbed Nate Robinson after he roughed up Jacque Vaughn. I don’t even think anyone so much as woofed at Kobe, clearly illustrating what the going-nowhere-worthwhile Grizzlies are lacking.

Afterthought, Part II: Kobe’s flagrant foul cost the Lakers two points. L.A. lost to Memphis by one.

Heilman : If I’m Not Starting, I’m Departing

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 12:04 pm by

Missed by yours truly while preparing for a long evening of partying with Stuart Scott, Little Steven and the members of P.OD. was the following item yesterday from Newsday’s Jim Baumbach.

Aaron Heilman has told the Mets on several occasions that if he is not going to be a starter in 2006, he wants to be traded, agent Mark Rodgers said Friday.

“He’s been polite but persistent,” Rodgers said. “He’s enjoyed the Mets, the city and the people, but he can do the math. He knows right now there’s no room for him. ”

According to Rodgers, the last time Heilman told Minaya about his desire to be a starter was just a few weeks ago, when the GM called Heilman after he returned from a successful stint starting in winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Rodgers said Heilman, who went 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA in six winter ball starts, told Minaya, “The reason why I went and played winter ball was to prove that I can start.”

The Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch reports the Mets are in negotiations to add Ron Darling to the club’s SportsNet NY broadcast booth alongside Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez.

With all due respect to Darling, who was hardly the worst thing about Washington Nationals telecasts last season (said honor going to Cristian Guzman), Cohen is more than capable of carrying Hernandez and it is hard to imagine how 3 heads are better than 2 in this instance.

The Other Ben Schwartz Pushes The Limits Of Free Expression

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 11:44 am by

From the Associated Press :

Nebraska athletic director Steve Pederson was guarded by a state trooper during a home football game last month after investigators determined a credible threat had been made against him and his family.

The decision for the Nov. 12 game against Kansas State, first reported Saturday by the Omaha World-Herald, apparently stemmed from a Nov. 9 column written by 23-year-old Ben Schwartz that appeared in the North Platte Bulletin, a weekly newspaper published in Pederson™s hometown.

œTell me it™s wrong to call up Steve Pederson™s house at three in the morning, breathe heavily into the phone and then whisper, ™I™m going to kill your children,™ Schwartz wrote after Nebraska lost its third straight, 40-15 to Kansas.

Schwartz, who is now attending radio broadcasting school in Minnesota, said he received a call from state patrol investigators a few days after the column ran. The newspaper™s publisher, Frank Graham, also said he was contacted by investigators.

œI don™t think they thought I was a threat to Steve Pederson, Schwartz said Saturday. œThey thought someone would read my column and be inspired to hurt his kids.

There’s no truth to the rumor that Schwartz has just been hired to do weekend overnights for Fox Sports Radio.

Clarett Starting ’06 In Style

Posted in Gridiron at 11:16 am by


Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett is wanted by Columbus Police for allegedly robbing two people early Sunday morning.

According to police, at 1:45 a.m. Clarett, armed with a handgun, approached two people in an alley near the Opium Lounge and demanded that they turn over their property.

Clarett then got into a white SUV with two other unknown African-American males and sped away.

Neither victim was injured.

The 22-year-old is now wanted on two counts of aggravated robbery.

I guess the Broncos weren’t planning on cutting Clarett in on their playoff shares. If nothing else, this probably cancels any plans for a big Fiesta Bowl bash at Maurice’s place.

Vermeil Retiring, Capers Canned

Posted in Gridiron at 11:05 am by

Several dozen outlets are reporting that Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil will announce his retirement after today’s game with the Bengals, which should crank up speculation surrounding Herm Edwards’ immediate future even further. It will also have a negative impact on the Kleenex share price, but that was bound to happen sooner or later, anyway.

ESPN is claiming that the firing of Texans coach Dom Capers is a done deal. With the 2-12 Texans facing the 3-11 49′ers later today in what has predictably been dubbed the Bush Bowl, the ongoing debate of whether or not either team would take a dive in order to ensure their shot at USC’s transcendent running back confuses me. If the Texans were to phone it in today, how could we tell? How much lower than their usual level of performance can they get? Is David Carr going to be sacked in the parking lot?


CSTB’s Top Comments Of 2005

Posted in Internal Affairs at 10:56 pm by

Much as I’d love to provide proper context for all of the submissions below, I kinda think they look better on their lonesome. Plus, I’m lazy. Happy New Year and thanks to (almost) everyone who contributed.

Imus is a PHONY and a FRAUD who copies everything HOWARD STERN does. Howard had the idea to put his radio show on E!, the Imus copies him with this lame, gay show. IMUS SUCKS and HOWARD STERN IS GOD!

Where to begin? I agree with the last poster. Imus re-cycles old jokes and gets off SCOTT-free with all his useless, yipping, ass-kissing, brown-nosing toadies. This show is so humor-less and lame it™s EXCRUCIATING. I mean, Walter Cronkite spoofs? That old news-reading, pontificating, has-been, ASSWIPE OLD GEEZER was relevant about 20 years ago¦.to my NOW DEAD and DECAYING GRANDPA. Imus is the biggest phony alive. He marries some young, brainless HOLE that he can stick his shriveled-up, wizened TOOL into, and proceeds to BORE his audience with stories about this gold-digging HAG. This self-absorbed prick would interview Jesus Christ himself and the most probing question would be, œSo, what do YOU think of me? I™d like to meet this cowboy-hat wearing, washed-up old DILDO in a dark alley someday and kick his wrinkled-up old ass until he screamed for mercy with the one UN-COLLAPSED lung he has left. What a useless f**k.

Good god this loser still has a show. Just looking at his face reminds me of wiping my dogs vomit up. Never has been funny, never will.
Imus is just disturbing to look at and his jokes are lame.

Rik Binding, 4/13/2005

C™mon CSTB, isn™t it possible that hstencil, Rog, Fucky, Dick, Lenny, and TK all live in the same flat, and have pooled their money to buy a single computer? Or are filming the upcoming Real World Staten Island?

gooblar, 11/14/2005

Carmello booty is fat and jigglee i would love to eat, hit it. He might be getting it from Kenyon Martin. I would love J.Jackson i knew a former ball boy for the Sixers when he played for the team. I went into the locker room and saw him in nothing but a very very small towel. What a package he has in the front, back. I heard it likes it from time to time.I am a bi black male and what a treat he will be in the bed. I know Cuttino Mobley, Steve Francis gets it in on that level. Vince Carter aint that bad either he acts so soft. Carmello tail is fat i will hit, hit often.

Jay, 2/24/2005


TIREE , 2/24/2000

Personally, if he had just sung the anthem without the œsomebody and the œclap your hands and without the dancers œsteppin in the name of the USA, it would™ve been just fine. As a black young man, I was offended. Thank you, R. Kelly. At this rate, Juneteenth will never become a national holiday and there never will be a black president.

Shane Russell, 12/5/2005

fuck david stern, he should die and go to hell and ger butt fucked by hitler and satan.Hes the worst, most fucked up NBA commisioner of all time.Not because of dress code, but because of how fucked he has let the officals be and by all of the stupid rules he has made!!!!!!

Stern Sucks, 11/11/2005

well, good riddance. Jeff Koyen was an infantile smug piece of embarrassment from day one (his editorials are some of the worst writing I have ever read, anywhere, and I even read the Russ Smith column), and Matt Taibbi is a pompous and boring-ass-hell poor excuse for a ˜political™ columnist. Funny that it took such a tedious and very-much-not-funny-enough article on ahem, GOD ON EARTH, œThe Pope”, to send Jeff Koyen the fuck outta town. That™s the 53rd and only funny point about the Pope dying btw. The only good thing about religion that I know of is that it™s here for us to make fun of and ridicule, hopefully to eventually abolish altogether. Too bad this noble pastime has been given such a bad rap by such talentless and unfunny hacks as Koyen and Taibbi. Here™s a hint, when you write ™satire™, make it ˜funny™. Instead we got 52 points, and not one of them funny at all, and this when writing about the Pope, y™know, the fucking Pope – can you think of anything easier to make fun of? Yet Taibbi comes up less than empty.

Great to see Koyen go, especially for something this lame, and I hope Taibbi will have to move on (.org) as well. Or better yet, cancel the stupid rag altogether, that way we will get rid of that stellar brain that is Armond White too.

Jesper , 3/7/2005

Sorry to hear CSTB will remain an independent site. I felt that CSTB™s hard hitting 2004 coverage of Dusty Baker™s too-large wristbands and his touchy team dynamics was a key factor in motivating the notoriously oversensitive Baker into staying competitive all thru last season. This year, the year of the Red Sox championship, CSTB has slowed its pace in Cubs coverage. The result is a .500 season of cyclical surges and pratfalls. I™m begging Rupert Murdoch, the Trib co., or the YES network to step in, hand this tired e-rag over to Rob Dibble and Joe Morgan to bring the Experience of Actual Players to bear on Baker, Weiland, and Tom Sizemore, and get things back on track.

Ben Schwartz, 07/24/05

I played baseball in junior high school and was pressured to hit better, run faster, and throw harder. When I couldn™t, it became obvious no major league team would touch me. I™m with Giambi on this one, players who simply can™t play major league baseball (like me) deserve our chance at Yankee Stadium, too. I want a lawyer or a needle.

Ben Schwartz, 02/27/05

the introduction of the one-timer instantly changed the competative dynamic between me and my buddy jon. in previous years he would always play as gretzky and would score on breakaway after breakaway with an unstopable move from forehand to back hand. i knew it was coming but could not stop it. jon™s lack of ability to master the one-timer coupled with my discovery of the indominable oates/hull combination gave a level skating surface.

man, nhl 94. oates/hull, bong hits between periods and guided by voices on the stereo, that™s what i think of when i think of nhl 94.

kt, 09/12/05

did you say œoldest living buffalo tom fan or œonly living buffalo tom fan”? or does it matter?

kt, 05/14/05

I™m curious¦why do you get so angry about this stuff, I mean, maybe i™ll piss you off here but¦it™s just sports (and worse, sports reporting).

Harris Bloom, 10/08/05

So after they encouraged speculation that Gary Sheffield or Johnny Damon was the Mystery Roider, Deadspin thinks this is a scoop worth celebrating. A story so huge it it barely garnered a sentence in this morning™s NY Times. I™d ask the editor for a quote, but he™s too busy blowing himself.

Dick Jung, 11/03/05

Will is actually a ridiculously nice guy. Just thought you should know, as your bashing of him has gotten a little creepy lately.

LR, 10/25/05

There were about 900 people there with me last night to watch Jae Seo duel Some Pitcher Named Vargas. While it was a fine game, you have to think that if the star power of that matchup can™t bump things up into five digits, there™s no way some jheri-curled dude and the best pitcher in the National League is going to do the trick, either. From what I heard, though, it was all moot tonight because the game was over in about 45 minutes.

Willis so dominates the Mets that I think all his wins against them this year “ including CSTB œDay At Shea, which Dontrelle shortened to about an hour and a half “ add up, cumulatively, to the length one Steve Trachsel warm-up session.

David Roth, 09/22/05

The NBA™s recent lil™-bit-country adventures have the reek of misguided branding about them, but The Romantics and Alter Bridge is just somebody not working hard enough. Even a 30-minute extended remix of œCenterfield “ with extra handclaps “ sounds good compared to that Jim Plunkett-lookin™ singing drummer bashing away for half an hour before Yusmeiro Petit takes the mound.

What™s weirdest about this, too, is that MLB seems to be trying to work up a connection with rock music via those soundcheck segments on ESPN™s Sunday Night Baseball „¢. Personally, I™m still holding out for a performance of œMoby Octopad with Butch Huskey on the ba-ba-ba vocals, but I think many other people would be happy to take in a pre-Futures Game set by one of those baseball-fan musicians who talk about their favorite teams during the Sunday night games.

David Roth, 07/08/05

œJason Star is a rare recording artist who can easily walk in and out of all kinds of musical styles and genres.
{Interpretation: Jason Star will try anything to make it.}

From r&b to rock to dance to fast songs to ballads, Our hero Jason Star is chameleon-like in his approach. His second solo album, Unstoppable could not be more appropriately titled. The album finds Jason Star being more a product of his influences than some would think possible.
{Interpretation: Jason Star never had an original thought in his life.}

The album has a very introspective feeling to it. Unstoppable is a really good listen. There are some privately honed songs, but they can also be related to others as well and not attributed to the singer or the issues going through his head.
{Interpretation: Jason Star is a human Xerox machine. A Xerox machine with dirty glass and low on toner.}

Jason did indeed take several risks on the CD. The title track, ˜Unstoppable™ and the track, ˜Feel Your Love™ seem like songs Michael Jackson would record. The song, ˜Talk To You™ is a fantastic duet featuring Abigail Murphy. Their voices play well off each other. ˜Vanished™ is mellow and has a very haunting beat throughout that makes you feel Jason™s pain.
{Interpretation: Jason™s pain = Missing the 40% off sale at Abercrombie and Fitch.}

˜Lonely Life™ has the same feel as ˜Vanished™ but makes you brush off that loss by acquiring a power of your own destiny. It also goes on to become one of the most heavy songs on the album.
{Interpretation: Most heavy!??! Writer is a moron.}

The song, ˜Downtown Stories™ is very good at evoking lifelike images within the mind with it™s lyrics. It tells the story of people who live very hard lives. ˜Forever™ is a very catchy and radio friendly song. The lyrics are very easy to follow. ˜Believe™ and the reprise of the song offer hope for people who have doubts. The hope the song delivers comes from the strong message in the lyrics. The music is very powerful at helping deliver that message. This album offers something for everyone. Music was getting trite until this album came along.
{Interpretation: Now music is trite, derivative, poorly performed and totally devoid of soul. And it can be yours for only $9.00!}

And I™ll kiss Jason™s ass once he gets his head out of it.

Donna McRottentwat, 10/4/2005

Zelasko™s coat was about as offensive as her pirate sleeves on Saturday night. Perhaps she is pregnant and needs to bake the bun in a blackglama/acrylic combo? That doesn™t explain the sleeves, though.

So I take it back. The sleeves were more offensive.

Xa, 10/24/05

people kneel at the altar of Simmons because he™s the poster-boy for every schlub with a blog (or in Bill™s case, a proto-blog) and a dream of befriending Jimmy Kimmel. Bill was fortunate enough to be well ahead of the curve and turned his schtick into a well-paying gig, a book and a house somewhere in the smog of L.A.

Jamie, 09/16/05

Coward?!? Look in the mirror, CSTB. Or, is that GC? You jock fuck. Go kick a soccer ball. And go sign really, really bad indie rock talent while you™re at it. You™re better at that than ˜writing™ a blog. Maybe you can do something that doesn™t involve copying/pasting 99% of the content (?)

Mr. Roper, 09/14/05

I woke up yesterday morning to hear Sir Charles on ESPN Radio calling Le Batard œRetard. It would have played better in my bedroom if he had called him œRe-a-tard but I suppose I am expecting too much (and for Charles to dig deep into the eMpTy back catalogue).

Jon Solomon, 05/10/05

I™m not going to be able to do this story justice, but a friend of mine who worked for a few years in the Marlins organization related a story from spring training:

Local radio guy is asking AJ Burnett about how great Al Leiter™s influence will be on him, how much he™ll learn, etc. Burnett, who™s from Arkansas, nods along with the question, then replies: ˜Yeah, yeah, it™ll be great, I™ve already learned so much. Al™s just like Bill Clinton“everything he says, you believe.

The reporter finds Leiter a few hours later, tells him there™s something he™d like him to hear. œAl™s just like Bill Clinton. Leiter flies into a rage: œYou liberal! You set him up! Don™t you dare use that on the air! You fucking liberal!

But apparently it was basically a friendly performance, and the story ended there.

Sam Frank, 07/08/05

Why dont people lay off Jordan? Sure, he gambled while playing and cheated on his wife. He™s a notorious bully. He was a horrible GM. He couldnt realize that he was cooked as a player, tarnishing his legacy by making a second comeback. He forced an up and coming to retool their playing style to accomodate his diminishing skills. He called Kwame Brown a faggot. He had Rip Hamilton traded away because he thought he was soft.

But he wears A SUIT, people. What part of that dont you understand? He doesn™t dress like a bad person. A SUIT!

Tommy Hoops, 10/25/05

It™s a sad day when a young man consciously chooses to model himself after the likes of a Colin Cowherd.

I have never rooted for high school bullies before, but please, students of Alex™s school system – do your job. This kid needs a swirlie and a de-panting (de-pantsing) immediately.

I would keep going, but I™ll leave you with the wisdom of my Uncle Dicky – ˜dont trust a man who has never touched a bagina™.

PS – I dont have an Uncle Dicky. He™s just a literary device that I will be leaning on more and more to end posts gracefully. And yes, this post did end gracefully.

Tommy Hoops, 07/12/05

œWe™re a band everyone can agree to listen to on a car trip, Chris Barron said. œWhat should we listen to, Limp Bizkit? ˜No way,™ said the parents. The Doobie Brothers? ˜No way,™ said the kids. Spin Doctors? ˜O.K.™ œ

How good of the guy to own up to his musical career being the equivalent of a form of child abuse.

Brushback, 09/24/05

Jason Star is a great singer and entertainer. Although he™s facing stiff competition in the boy pop star market, he works hard-on his music and his image. The industry has tried to erect barriers to talented inependent artists like Jason, but even if they give him the shaft, he has what it takes to go all the way. He may take a licking from those record industry guys, but rest assured, he gives as good as he gets. If you want to see how much he can give head over to his website and see for yourself. You™ll be blown away by the talent this kid has. As his star rises in Kansas City, he will swallow the competition and beat the critics. Keep up the great work, Jason! I™m a believer and a true fan. You truly are unstoppable!,

Ted Weiner, July 25

Time To Say Something Nice About Marty Schottenheimer

Posted in Gridiron at 8:47 pm by

Denver 23, San Diego 7

A lot of you expert-types who’ve never coached at any level will no doubt be quick to criticize Marty Schottenheimer for allowing Drew Brees (above) to suffer a potentially serious injury in a meaningless game, but let’s give the Chargers coach some credit : despite promising otherwise all week, he did find a way to get Philip Rivers some substantial playing time.

As did John Lynch, but let’s not focus on the negative as we enter a new year.

Serby Vs. The Black Hole

Posted in Gridiron at 2:22 pm by

With the Giants needing a win in Oakland tonight to guarantee the NFC East title, the NY Post’s Steve Serby solicits some negative commentary about Raider Nation.

For Giants fans, more ominous than Kerry Collins’ desire for revenge is their team’s disturbing pattern of getting distracted in an alien stadium. This one, especially on this night, will look and sound as if it has been taken over by Martians.

“Imagine a big, giant Halloween party,” Bob Whitfield said. “Them [jerks] are gonna be dressed up in all kind of costumes. They got the dude in the end zone with three heads. They said he got three little heads in there, it ain’t like a costume. Like Rosie Grier and James Caan stuck together, remember that? ‘The Man With Two Heads.’ Remember that? It’s really more intimidating during the pregame, ’cause right about the second quarter happens, [jerks] are drunk.”

Morton knows the Black Hole from his Jets days.

“If you let ‘em get to you, then it’s over,” Morton said, “because they’ll be on you the whole game.”

Diminuitive Morton laughs hysterically as he tells this story: “There’s this one guy who always dresses … like these platform boots, like a real tall guy, and before the game he’s like, ‘Morton, you need my shoes?’”

Serby notes the Raiders are narrowly leading the Giants in the most penalties assessed in 2005. Even without Bill Callahan, Oakland are defending that Dumbest Team In America title.

Dallas To Host 2007 NHL All-Star Game

Posted in Hockey at 2:06 pm by

The Dallas Stars have been chosen to host the 2007 NHL All-Star Game, an honor slightly more coveted than getting the Arena Bowl, though considerably less exciting than the World Curling Championships.

Islanders coach Steve Stirling on the benching of captain Alexi Yashin for the final 16 minutes of last night’s loss to Ottawa ;

“It was lazy, sloppy and just coming off an awful power play,” Stirling said. “Anything more I have to say?”

No, I think that about covers it. Maybe Stephon Marbury can offer Yashin some sage advice about the right way to handle such a critique.

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of spending Christmas week in Las Vegas, where the IHL’s now defunct Thunder were doing-their-thing at the Thomas & Mack Center. With their fingers on the pulse of something or other, Thunder management arranged for Quiet Riot’s Kevin DuBrow to sing “The Star Spangled Banner”. While it wasn’t quite R. Kelly (or Liz Phair), it was still a memorable rendition (for one thing, it sounded nothing like Slade).

Sidearm Delivery’s Brushback informs us that although the IHL has long since left Vegas, the marketing savvy is still in ample supply. Not only are the ECHL’s Wranglers playing some of their home games at midnight, but a recent contest with the Long Beach Ice Dogs was preceeded by a performance by Mini Kiss.

No minor league hockey love for the Kissfits (shown above), however, which is a very sobering thought on this most unsober of days.

Manny & The Mets, Continued

Posted in Baseball at 11:51 am by

Following on yesterday’s report by the Star-Ledger’s Dan Granziano that tipped Kris Benson to the Orioles, Miguel Tejada to Boston and Manny Ramirez to the Mets, the Daily News’ Bill Madden and Anthony McCarren claim that talks have expanded to include the Devils Rays (again). (link courtesy Chuck Meehan)

The basics of the four-team deal that had the baseball executives buzzing yesterday and would appear to satisfy the needs of all four clubs would have Tejada and Tampa Bay’s Joey Gathright going to the Red Sox to fill Boston’s holes at shortstop and center field.

Ramirez and Baez would go to the Mets, giving them one of the game’s best sluggers and a setup man. The Orioles would satisfy their need at shortstop by getting Julio Lugo from Tampa Bay and add pitching by getting Matt Clement from Boston and possibly Kris Benson from the Mets.

The Devil Rays, who have always been difficult to deal with, especially in complicated transactions, are seeking top prospects and young pitching and would be satisfied in that regard by getting third baseman Andy Marte from Boston and Jae Seo and Aaron Heilman from the Mets. In addition, the Mets would send Kaz Matsui to Tampa to give the D-Rays a stopgap shortstop replacement until prospect B.J. Upton is ready.

An executive with one of the teams called the four-team scenario far-fetched, but an official with another of the teams said he expected to broach such talks.

On the less savory side of things, yesterday Deadspin repeated the rumor that Manny’s reluctance to stay in Boston stems from Mrs. Manny’s unhappiness with his fucking around. This scoop is right up there with Kyle Farnsworth being a jerk. What part of “Manny wants more privacy” was so hard to decipher until now?

Tony Parker’s Furry Sac Campaign

Posted in Basketball, Fashion at 10:21 am by

As seen on the back of a Paris bus, Spurs G Tony Parker (photograph courtesy of Jay Strell). Maybe that bicycle cop really did just want his autograph?

Jon Solomon Visits Tavern, All Hell Breaks Loose

Posted in Gridiron, The Mailbag at 1:51 am by

Dear CSTB,

This afternoon, on my way south from the Volcano Suns reunion show, I stopped off in Manhattan to watch my alma mater play UCLA in the Sun Bowl. It was appropriate that a football game sponsored by Vitalis would make me want to rip out my hair. While I was taking a picture of myself in the bar to remember the game by, I discovered an eerie spectre had appeared in the background of the frame. I’ve attached photographic evidence of my encounter.

Diamond Rio performed at halftime in El Paso. All hail west Texas!

I have to log off before the Bruins return a third onside kick for a touchdown.


Mystified in Mercer County


How We Got Here From There : CSTB’s Sports Books Of The Year

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Sports Journalism at 6:38 pm by


The sport, unfortunately, had been belching the residue of its shortsighted money-grabbing for the better part of a decade. People I have known for many years who were at The Palace of Auburb Hills that night spoke of the anger in the air, palpable and ugly, a gladitorial ambience that over the years had become pervasive in too many NBA arenas. Obviously, this was partly attributable to to the intensity between two physical rivals, but it was more a by-product of a regrettable marketing scheme to create an in-your-face product that was edgy enough to resonate with the young and rebellious, those who would buy the jerseys, play the video games, create the buzz.

However, the fans paying a king’s ransom for the expensive seats were much less forgiving, more easily antagonized upon the sounding of those deep-rooted racial alarms. Drunk or not, too many basketball fans had reached the point where they objectified the players, could not related to them as human beings, or see beyond societal stereotypes and flimsily disguised racial codes. If the imagery of large black men beating on defenseless white fans was alarming, the too-widely accepted pastime of affluent whites feeling empowered to verbally abuse half-dressed, sweaty black men should have enoked even more discomfort and disturbing American historical chapters.

The irony was that, the more the fans shelled out for their seats, the closer they got to the action —- but the closer they got, the wider the gulf between them and players seemed to grow. The arguments over which side of the basketball divide was more to blame could be carried on ad infinitum, but, when all was said and done, the sad spectacle revealed more about how American big business operated, more about profiteering than it did about punches, more about how gluttonous corporations had steered the sport off course and over time created a poweder keg ready to blow on a short racial fuse.

- From Harvey Araton’s ‘Crashing The Borders : How Basketball Won The World and Lost Its Soul At Home’ (Free Press).

1) Howard Bryant’s ‘Juicing The Game : Drugs, Power And The Fight For The Soul Of Major League Baseball’ (Viking).

Horsing Around In The Pacific Northwest

Posted in Going To The Zoo at 6:19 pm by

Following up on one of 2005′s top scoops, Tim Cook writes,

It certainly wasn’t any natural disaster or accomplishments of the local 5, 9 or 11 (Sonics, Mariners or Seahawks), but was, in fact, according to the Times’ Danny Westneat, but was the heartbreaking story of the King County equestrians.

Happy new year!

Creamy Krueger Returns To The Airwaves

Posted in Sports Radio at 12:00 pm by

From the San Francisco Chronicle’s Tom Fitzgerald.

Larry Krueger has a regular radio gig again, nearly five months after being fired as a sports talk host at KNBR for criticizing the Giants’ “brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly.”

Krueger (above) has been hired by KGO, one of KNBR’s main competitors, as a sports reporter on the weekday, 4-to-7 p.m. program anchored by Greg Jarrett and Rosie Allen.

On the surface, the new job would seem to be new territory from Krueger’s previous show, which allowed him free rein to issue his outspoken views.

At KGO, he’ll basically have a two-minute slot twice an hour in which he’ll give scores, issue news reports and give his opinions.

“People (at KGO) told me they want to get away from (strictly scores and news) and to use my creative abilities to concentrate on things and take a new approach,” Krueger said Thursday, shortly after the station announced his hiring.

“I’ll be trying to concentrate on issues and things that would be appealing to our vast audience.”

Because of the furor over Krueger’s remarks about the Giants — he likened manager Felipe Alou’s mind to “Cream of Wheat” — KGO news director Greg Tantum said he “wanted to take the time to get to know him. We found out he’s a quality human being. I felt that whatever had happened, that was not going to be problem (at KGO). Not because of the negative publicity, he felt very bad as a human being about the whole situation.”

Krueger said his biggest regret about the incident that prompted his firing was “that Felipe didn’t do his due diligence on finding out who I really am, and that he wouldn’t accept word one of an apology from me.”

As for his controversial blast at the team, he said, “I’d go back to what I originally said, that there was never any malicious intent on my part. I’m sorry that Felipe and others were offended, but there was no intent on my part to put anybody down.”

Graziano : Mets Still In Manny Mix

Posted in Baseball at 11:54 am by

From the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dan Graziano.

According to two baseball officials familiar with the talks, the Mets have been involved in several complicated trade discussions with the hope of landing Manny Ramirez. Both officials said the large, complex deals still required a lot of work, but that the Mets were keeping their toe in the water in case they still had a chance to add Ramirez to their 2006 lineup.

One of the possibilities would involve a multi-team deal in which Mets pitcher Kris Benson would end up in Baltimore, Tejada in Boston and Ramirez with the Mets (with a variety of other players and cash bouncing around in the deal as well). The Orioles like Benson and, earlier this off-season, offered reliever Jorge Julio for him. The Mets have been looking to trade him and certainly would do so if it meant bringing in Ramirez for right field.

The “variety of other players” portion of this seems to be the most complicated part of the equation. There’s no way the Orioles can sell their fans on the notion that Kris Benson for Tejada represents fair value, to say nothing of the message it would send to Jeromy Burnitz.

Marbury Declares Love For Dolan, Fails To Speak With Brown

Posted in Basketball at 11:39 am by

Newsday’s Greg Logan on the Knicks’ Stephon Marbury, who says (some of) the right things after being buried by Larry Brown in the coach’s postgame press conference Wednesday night.

“Hey, man, I love New York, and I want to be here more than anything,” Marbury volunteered in an interview after practice. “Whatever it’s going to take for me to win, I’m going to do it because I feel like New York deserves it … If it’s sacrificing my game, I’m willing to do that.”

In Marbury’s view, that’s exactly what he was doing in Orlando when he took only three shots in the first three quarters and finished with five points, 0-for-7 shooting and three assists.

Marbury said he passed up open shots to get better ones for teammates, which is what Brown wants from his point guard.

Brown was in no mood to add fuel to the fire yesterday, declaring the incident over. But he did not back off his critical postgame comments. Performance fluctuates from game to game, but Brown said, “In my mind, he had a lot of good looks [in Orlando] that he didn’t look to take. I think you can hurt your team by doing that.

The point guard from Coney Island (above), who has been traded three times, acknowledged the possibility of a fourth trade, but he’s not asking out.

“I can’t do nothing about that, but like I said, I love New York more than anything, and I’ll do anything to be in New York,” Marbury said. “This is the place I grew up at, loving to play basketball and being a fan of New York.”

Marbury said the thought of leaving “never crossed my mind.” He hasn’t talked to Thomas about his desire to remain with the Knicks, but then again, Marbury said that’s not necessary.

“My heart and my soul say that,” Marbury said. “My heart and my soul bleed New York colors. I know that, and I believe everybody else knows that.”

It’s plain to see Marbury doesn’t enjoy Brown’s emphasis on defense and a structured offense that takes the ball out of his hands to stress ball movement and an inside-out attack. But Marbury insisted, “I made the adjustment. So I’m willing, and I’m ready.”

Curiously, Brown and Marbury discussed their views openly with reporters but never spoke to each other about what happened in Orlando. The one question Marbury refused to answer was about his relationship with Brown, and when asked if he needs to talk to Brown about his role as point guard, Marbury snapped, “I don’t need to talk to him. He needs to come tell me what he wants me to do if that’s what he feels is the case.”

So things aren’t exactly hunky-dory in paradise, but Marbury even went so far as to say, “I love [Cablevision CEO James] Dolan for bringing me here. Like I said, once we all get to the point where we’ve had enough [of losing], then that’s when it’s going to be enough.”

The New York Post’s Peter Vescey, unsurprisingly, finds much to mock in the Marbury/Brown stalemate.

Only genius can get away with the infantile concept of starting players in their college or home town, or in David Lee’s case, home state. One day you’re thrown into Brown’s moth ball drawer, the next day you’re being introduced with four other irregulars. And here all this time I believed sports was about winning, not playing to the crowd.

The catch is, Lee hails from St. Louis, Mo., and played at the University of Florida at Gainesville, not anywhere near Orlando. Worse yet, Brown assigned the 6-9 power ranger to cover Grant Hill, who, despite four ankle operations, is still infinitely more mobile than Lee.

It’s as if Brown picked his starting lineup out of hat in anticipation of getting sawed in half at the Magic Kingdom. I’d like to see the alpha waves that comprise Brown’s thought process when he Etch-A-Sketches his nightly starters. Is there some essay contest on the team plane? Does he go up and down the aisles asking, “I’m thinking of a number between . . . ?” Is there speed-dial with the Psychic Friends Network?

Adding insult to our already insulted intelligence, four members of Wednesday night’s queasy quintet didn’t see as much as 17 minutes of daylight. Stephon Marbury (0-7, three assists in 40 malicious minutes) was the only one who did, and he didn’t deserve 17 seconds of unsupervised activity.

Transit workers, who recognize a strike when they see one, claim they gave New York City more production than that during their nearly three-day work stoppage. Question is, why would Brown leave Marbury in there for so long if he felt he was laying down on the job? Seems like both men went out of their way to embarrass each other and each was very effective.

Great Moments In Beauty Pageant History

Posted in Sports Radio at 10:50 am by

From today’s edition of Scott’s Shots :

The blurry, amateur pictures from the Miss WEEI contest found at the woeful WEEI website showed once again, what a œhigh class organization the radio station truly is. Over/Under on the total number of Revere and Worcester hair bimbos was four and a half. The pictures probably don™t justice to the, ahem, lovelies, but it was a motley crew to be sure. And it begs the question: What kind of woman would want to be Miss ˜EEI? And what are the benefits?

Old Coot Demands Ballplayers Spruce Up

Posted in Baseball, Fashion at 10:41 am by

From the land that time forgot (ie. Palm Beach), here’s the TC Post’s Bill Vaylo, advocating an MLB dress code (thanks to Repoz for the link).

There is only one conclusion that can be reached after George Steinbrenner, the owner of the New York Yankees, made Johnny Damon get rid of his beard and long hair before he becomes part of the again new New York Yankees lineup ” make him head up the dress code committee for Major League Baseball.

Steinbrenner has not been one of my favorite baseball owners. He interferes much too much with the manager. What he does do right, however, is make sure that his team looks good on and off the field.

Baseball players have become sloppy over the years. With all the money the make (yes, I will add this much used phrase), you would think that they could afford a haircut and a shave.

Most teams in the majors are poor examples for the cities they represent. City officials should put in a clause in the contracts they sign with owners when money for a new stadium are bantered about. It should read “we will give you the money, provided that your ballplayers get haircuts and beards removed” and that they set a fine example on and off the field.

Social fashion trends have molded the attitudes of ballplayers throughout the years. It seems that long hair, moustaches, beards, sideburns and goatees are common in lineups today.

In the late 60s and 70s, baseball dress on the field was conservative. Facial hair was out during this period. I remember when Dick Allen, the powerful first baseman, came to Philadelphial sporting a moustache and beard in the 70s. My loyalty to the team took a dip during his tenure with the Phillies.